Where do you live now? Tell us a little about where you are from.
I am a dyed-in- the-wool New Yorker. Grew up in Queens, went to NYU, married a guy from the Bronx and settled in Brooklyn. The outer boroughs of the city, at least Brooklyn and Queens are far cooler than they were when I was growing up and only Manhattan mattered. There is a lot of culture (high and hipster), kid friendly destinations, and ethnic diversity (and good cheap eats) in the outer boroughs and I always encourage visitors to cross the East River and check out Brooklyn, Queens or the Bronx, at least for a day. Something like 112 languages are spoken in Queens. It is probably the most diverse place on earth.
Describe your travel philosophy. What is your style? Are you more of a luxury traveler or is backpacking more your style? Do you like to be in control and do all your own planning, or do you like to let go and go on tours or go to a travel agent to help out? Do you like to pack a lot into a day or take it easy and follow your whims?
Some years ago we were driving around Newfoundland. At one of its national parks we were going to rent a canoe, row and portage to a backwoods campsite and stay overnight. But the weather report was for cold and rain. We thought we could deal with one or the other, not both. So we went to the only hotel we could find, a large and nice resort with a heated pool, stylish restaurant, maybe even a golf course? So we managed to still canoe but went back to the hotel to eat and sleep. My husband had salmon in papillote and I had something similarly fancy. We were eating and enjoying it immensely and joking about how disappointing it was to not to be cooking canned beans and ramen noodles over a fire.
Actually, the ideal trip involves a little of all that. We are not adrenalin junkies though. I would say soft adventure is our style. Hiking, kayaking, not bungee jumping.
I think the obstacles to do with family travel are small and manageable if you accept that traveling with kids is not bad, but it’s different. You do have to plan more, you have to slow your pace down and take playing breaks between site seeing activities. You care more about where you stay because you do spend more time there. You eat and hang out in your lodging more in the morning and evening; you don’t just sleep there. You have to appreciate that kids are kids, even on vacation. They still get tired, cranky, hungry, bored, homesick, especially when they are taken out of their routine. So it’s important to stick to your routine enough that they stay rested and fed, but that you are flexible enough that you enjoy yourselves. It gets easier as they get older and more flexible. I find it hard to get good information about things to do that both adults and kids can enjoy, And about the amenities I need in places to stay. This is why I started FamiliesGo! To give parents really good, relevant travel information.
I love Bali and I love Hong Kong. I wish they were not so far away. Hong Kong has an energy and a mash of old and new and tradition and innovation that is really cool. The city has great energy. Bali is lush and beautiful. And I’ve never elsewhere encountered people so content with their surroundings. Venice was the most magical place I’ve ever been. It shouldn’t exist but it does. Hilton Head, South Carolina is easy and relaxing and I would go back any time. It is one of the best beaches I’ve found outside of Long Island, NY, which I am partial to because the beaches are wide and miles long and the ocean has character.
Our rule is that souvenirs ought to be useful. Aside from art work we mostly bring home food, cooking utensils, clothes, books, toys. We have a beautiful blanket from Indonesia that we use as a throw, a nice purse from Cambodia, dried chiles from Mexico, a Mona Lisa mug from Paris. It’s nice to encounter reminders of your trip as you go about cooking, putting on your coat, drinking your coffee, etc.
We’re going to Philadelphia for a weekend. We will swim in the hotel pool, visit museums and eat cheese steaks. After the long winter we are most looking forward to the pool.
Well if you’ve never traveled than just go anywhere. Just go!
Author Bio: Corinne Vail is a travel photographer, food lover, and a perpetual traveler who has been travel writing for over 14 years. For many years she lived overseas in Germany, Japan, Turkey, South Korea, and the Netherlands teaching the children of the US. military. She’s visited over 90 countries, and she’s not stopping anytime soon.